ESSENCE's 2013 Year in Pictures

Every year is filled with indelible images — and 2013 was no different, with so many moments captured on camera that help us reflect on the past 12 months of Black life and culture. As we gear up to say goodbye to 2013, takes a look back at the year in pictures.

ESSENCE.COM Oct, 24, 2013

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After a stronger-than-expected re-election victory in November 2012, President Barack Obama receives the oath of office during the 57th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.

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Talk about making an entrance! First Lady Michelle and President Barack Obama attend the 2013 Inaugural Ball. Mrs. O's  Jason Wu red chiffon and velvet gown left us speechless.

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Serena Williams was voted WTA Player of the Year for the second year in a row and fifth time in her career. This year, the 32-year-old star athlete secured her position in first place (her first time in this spot since her health scare in 2011), won a career-high 11 titles, and earned a record $12.4 in prize money. Here, Williams defeats Maria Sharapova to win the French Open.

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Robin Roberts

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Vanessa Williams, Cicely Tyson and Leon Addison Brown at The Trip To Bountiful final performance celebration at Stephen Sondheim Theatre in New York City. The successful run would earn Cicely Tyson a Tony Award for Best Actress.

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Oprah sits down with Whitney Houston’s mother, Cissy Houston, in her New Jersey home for her first in-depth, sit-down interview since her daughter’s passing. The episode of Oprah's Next Chapter aired nearly a year after Whitney's death.

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ESSENCE's October cover star Viola Davis catches up on some reading backstage at the 2014 ESSENCE Upfront in New York City. In the issue, Davis talked candidly about her new role as a working mother.

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Jennifer Hudson performed "And I'm Telling You" from Dreamgirls, the movie that made her a star, during a tribute to musicals at the 85th Annual Academy Awards.

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Kelly Rowland rocked the September cover of ESSENCE, is a judge on X Factor, and released her album Talk a Good Game this year, but it looks like she wants you to remember her Sexy Abs...workout DVDs, that is, with celeb trainer Jeanette Jenkins.

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Bill Cosby and Tempestt Bledsoe had a little fun during an impromptu reunion on the Late Show with Jimmy Fallon.

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Beyonce performs "Naughty Girl" at the 2013 ESSENCE Festival in New Orleans. This year's Fest broke attendance records, drawing 540,000 attendees from around the world.

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Crowd favorite Jill Scott performed at the Superdome during the 2013 ESSENCE Festival in New Orleans.

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Idris Elba sure knows how to keep the party rocking! The talented actor took the world by storm last year earning a Golden Globe for the British series Luther, while this year he is on many critics' Oscar picks list for his work in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. In between film gigs, you can find the sexy star on the 1's and 2's, performing as DJ Driis. Hey, Mr. DJ!

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Teyonah Parris, who plays Dawn Chambers on the critically acclaimed show Mad Men, is one starlet we'll be keeping an eye in the near future. Here she dazzles on the red carpet of the 19th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles.

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Don Cheadle accepts the Best Actor award for TV Series, Comedy or Musical, for his lead role in House of Lies at the 70th annual Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills.

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Like mother, like daughter! Phylicia Rashad embraces daughter Condola at the opening night reception of Shakespeare's Romeo And Juliet in New York City.

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Barack and Michelle Obama experience a powerful moment gazing out the "Door of No Return" in Senegal. This door was the place where millions of slaves departed Africa and were boarded on slave ships that would carry them to America.

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Lupita Nyong'o shines on the red carpet at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Governors Awards in Hollywood. The lovely starlet is gathering a lot of critical buzz from her breakthrough performance in 12 Years a Slave.

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Jay Z and Beyonce, here performing "Crazy In Love" at the Chime For Change concert in London, once again top the Forbes list of Highest Earning Celebrity Couples. The two megastars earned in excess of $95 million from all of their ventures—from her lucrative Mrs. Carter tour to his latest album release and Legends of the Summer tour with Justin Timberlake.

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Robin Roberts poses with First Lady Michelle Obama on the set of Good Morning America in New York City. Mrs. O was celebrating the third anniversary of her successful Let's Move campaign. Note the First Lady's chic new haircut.

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President Barack Obama holds Terrell Anderson Jr., 3, of Detroit, a relative of Rosa Parks at the ceremony unveiling the civil rights icon's honorary statue in Statuary Hall in the Capitol.

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Pre-baby bump, Halle Berry shimmered at the 85th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood.

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Shirley Bassey performs "Goldfinger" onstage during the Oscars in Hollywood to celebrate 50 years of James Bond films.

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Jill Marie Jones, Persia White, Golden Brooks and Tracee Ellis Ross attend the 6th annual ESSENCE Black Women In Hollywood awards luncheon at Beverly Hills Hotel. The cast gathered to honor the show's creator Mara Brock-Akil with an ESSENCE Award.

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Honorees Mara Brock-Akil, Naomie Harris, Alfre Woodard and Gabrielle Union at the sixth annual ESSENCE Black Women In Hollywood Luncheon at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

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Naomie Harris, Mechad Brooks and Alfre Woodard have some fun at ESSENCE's Black Women In Hollywood Luncheon.

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ESSENCE honorees Quvenzhané Wallis and Oprah Winfrey pose for a very memorable picture at the 2013 Black Women in Hollywood luncheon.

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There has been no celebrity breakup messier than this one. Chris Brown's career still hasn't recovered after he was arrested physically assaulting Rihanna in 2009. Believe it or not, the two got back together in 2013 only to call it quits again less than a year later. 

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Solange Knowles attends the opening ceremony and The Great Gatsby premiere during the 66th Annual Cannes Film Festival in France.

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Kelly Rowland, Beyonce and Michelle Williams perform during the Super Bowl XLVII Halftime Show at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. The performance, which reached 110 million people worldwide, was so electrifying that it drained almost all the power in the stadium after its completion, halting the football game for almost a half hour. Lights out!

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Sidney Poitier presents Harry Belafonte with the Spingarn Medal during the 44th NAACP Image Awards in Los Angeles.

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Quvenzhané Wallis poses for a portrait during the 85th Academy Awards Nominations Luncheon in Beverly Hills. The 10-year-old Oscar-nominated actress is currently filming the remake of Annie, which is scheduled for a 2014 release.

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President Barack Obama walks with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie after arriving at Joint Base McGuire-Dix in New Jersey. Obama is traveling to the New Jersey shore to view rebuilding efforts following last year's Hurricane Sandy.

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Tamar Braxton and her husband Vince Herbert welcomed son Logan Vincent into the world in 2013. The Braxton Family Values and Tamar & Vince star also released the album Love and War this year.

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Shemar Moore shows off his beach body during a trip to Miami Beach. The Criminal Minds star just can't seem to find a shirt to wear these days—but we're not complaining!

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Christina Milian and her daughter Violet Madison Nash attend the 'Get Kids Growing' interactive gardening workshop in Glendale, California.

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David Otunga and son David Daniel Otunga Jr. arrive at the premiere of The Call at the Arclight Theatre in Los Angeles. Looks like the actor/reality star/wrestler/J-Hud fiance can add proud papa to his resume.

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Beyonce debuts a short, blonde pixie hair cut on Instagram.

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Diahann Carroll and Kerry Washington walk onstage during the 65th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles. In 1969, Carroll was nominated as Best Actress for her series, Julia. Over 40 years later, Washington was nominated for the same award and is only the second Black actress to have been given the nod.

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First Lady Michelle Obama and President Barack Obama talk during a dedication ceremony at the George W. Bush Library and Museum on the grounds of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.

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Usher gave his ex-wife Tameka Foster a heartfelt hug after a judge ruled he could keep custody of his children during an emergency hearing at the Superior Court of Fulton County in Atlanta, Georgia.

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Jay Z takes daughter Blue Ivy to lunch at Szptime restaurant on in Paris, France.

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Kerry Washington receives an honorary degree of Doctor of Fine Arts during the George Washington University 2013 commencement on the National Mall in Washington, DC. The Scandal star had a stellar year: not only leading the hottest show on TV and marrying her beau Nnamdi Asomugha—Washington is now expecting her first child! 

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Not only did she produce and compose her first Broadway play Stick Fly,  she managed to raise $4 million dollars for her charity Keep A Child Alive while also helping us to rock out to hit songs like "Girl on Fire." Despite her busy year, Alicia Keys will no doubt tell you her greatest success is her adorable son, Egypt.

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The not-guilty verdict from the George Zimmerman trial created a storm of pain and anger across the country. Beyoncé and Jay Z walked alongside Travyon Martin's mother Sybrina Fulton in New York City, in support of the National Action Network's 100 City 'Justice For Trayvon' Vigil.

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Two-time NBA champ LeBron James married his high school sweetheart Savannah Brinson in a private ceremony in San Diego this year. Here the newlyweds share an intimate moment on their honeymoon in Rome.  

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This year, funny man Kevin Hart had everyone laughing with his keep-it-real comedy. The star and executive producer of the BET's hit series Real Husband's of Hollywood, took to the big screen with his third stand-up movie Let Me Explain where he talked divorce, friendships and family. If you would have him explain even more, he'd tell you his children, Heaven and Hendrix, are his greatest inspiration. 

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Jackie Robinson seemed to come to life in the biopic 42, produced by Howard Baldwin (who also brought us Ray). The film was highly revered by critics, and also received the attention of President Obama. Here, he welcomes Rachel Robinson, the widow of the late great baseball player, to the White House screening.

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Michael Strahan celebrated one year since he took his post as co-host alongside Kelly Ripa on the morning show Live! with Kelly and Michael. The two have proved to be a match made in TV heaven as they score big ratings for morning talk. Here, Real Housewives of Atlanta star Kenya Moore shows the duo how to achieve a Stallion booty.

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The Carters are used to being under the microscope—Beyoncé for her daring performances and Jay Z for his high-risk business deals. But this year, the power couple were most criticized for celebrating their fifth wedding anniversary in Old Havana, Cuba. While a percentage of folks grew concerned about whether or not the two were actually allowed to visit Cuba, the other half of us were simply trying to replicate Beyoncé's now famous oversized top-knot.

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Oprah Winfrey

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Janelle Monáe is not only a face of Covergirl, but she's also a role model. In May, ESSENCE hosted a dinner at Mondrian Soho for the "Electric Lady" singer, who graced the cover of the magazine this spring. An inspiration to us all, Monáe continueously demonstrates how awesome it is to truly be yourself.

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Nicole Murphy is not one to cover up on the beach. And why should she? A fierce 40-plus-year-old mother of five, Murphy reminds us all that if you still got it, flaunt it!

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Beyoncé turned heads and dropped jaws when walking up the stairs at the entrance of this year's MET Gala. Drapped in a Givenchy dress with matching boots and gloves, it was clear Beyoncé was going for high drama—and she did so beautifully. Undoubtedly, the crowd favorite of the evening.

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Robin Roberts looked simply stunning backstage at The 2013 ESPY Awards as she held onto the Arthur Ashe Courage Award—an honor given to a person that demonstrates will, courage and strength in the face of adversity. A well-deserved honor for Roberts!

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Kerry Washington, an active supporter of the Obama campaign, lent a helping hand to the First Lady's effort to get kids active. Here she performs with students during a Let's Move event while visiting the Savoy School in Washington, D.C.

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Halle Berry didn't let pregnacy slow her down. The now mother of two was in Disneyland sharing smooches with Mickey Mouse on the stage of the new live musical show, Mickey and the Magical Map while on vacation with her family.

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Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union

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Jill Scott and Boris Kodjoe had much to celebrate this year. The two starred in the movie Baggage Claim, alongside leading lady Paula Patton to make one of the funniest romantic comedies of the year. From the looks of things, the fun didn't just stop onscreen.

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After performing a dynamic duet with former American Idol alum Jennifer Hudson, audiences knew that Candice Glover was a voice to be reckoned with. That evening Glover was crowned American Idol Season 12 winner in Los Angeles.

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Serena Williams celebrates winning her women's singles final match against Victoria Azarenka of Belarus at the 2013 US Open at  in New York City. This is the seventh time Serena has won the Grand Slam title (8 of those times going head-to-head with her big sister Venus). There is no doubt that she's the best to ever do it.

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David Alan Grier and Kerry Washington were in Wendy Williams' hot seat to promote the movie Peeples, co-produced by Tyler Perry.

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Harry Belafonte acted as this year's Grand Marshal of New York City's Pride Parade. A staunch supporter of domestic and international human rights, Belafonte's presence at the parade demonstrates that the issue of gay rights is an issue that affects people in all communities.

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President Barack Obama awarded Oprah Winfrey with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Nation's highest award bestowed on a civilian. The medal is given to a person who contributes significantly to the national interests of the United States, world peace, or advances in cultural endeavors. "Oprah's greatest strength has always been her ability to help us discover the best in ourselves," President Obama said.

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Solange Knowles draws a crowd while making a statement in protest of the George Zimmerman not guilty verdict in front of Borough Hall in Brooklyn, New York. 

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Bill Duke, Jessie Williams, Eriq LaSalle, Richard Brooks, Jay Ellis, Djimon Hounsou, Mo McRae, Wren Brown, Anthony Anderson, Tommy Morgan Jr., David Oyelowo and Blair Underwood pose for a photo at the ICON MANN's Summer Luncheon in West Hollywood. All in all, we just love to see all these handsome men together.

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Senegal President Macky Sall his wife Marieme Faye Sall pose with President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama outside the presidential palace before meetings in Dakar.

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Serena Williams takes her Yorkshire terrier Chip to a training session with her, before participating in the Swedish Open Tennis tournament. Looks like everyone in the family is expected to stay fit—even the pup.

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Jessica White is seen here arriving at the Scientology Celebrity Center on the Upper East Side in New York City.

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Earlier this year, we spotted 42-year-old wife, mother, actress and producer Jada Pinkett Smith flaunting a rock hard body on a beach in Hawaii. We just love her petite frame and her killer abs!

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Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Norris Cole of the Miami Heat celebrate after defeating the San Antonio Spurs 95-88 to win game seven of the 2013 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena in Miami.

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Venus Williams reacts after slipping on the court during her women's singles second round match against Jie Zheng of China at the 2013 US Open in New York City utlimately costing her the game.

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Robin Roberts and Cicely Tyson pose together after a heartfelt interview on Good Morning America.

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Iman arrives the 4th Annual amfAR Inspiration Gala New York at The Plaza Hotel in New York City. The 58-year-old stunner proves that true beauty is ageless.

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Jamie Foxx lets loose during an interview with Jay Leno on The Tonight Show in California. He joked about horseback riding in Django: Unchained and his upcoming role as Electro in Spider-Man 2.

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John Legend and Chrissy Teigen were wed in Cernobbio, Italy.

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Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith, Jaden Smith, Trey Smith and Willow Smith celebrate Trey Smith's 21st birthday with a special dinner in Las Vegas.

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Cicely Tyson wins the Best Performance by a Leading Actress and Patina Miller wins Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical at the 67th Annual Tony Awards.

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The President, First Lady and their daughter Malia meet with Malala Yousafzai in the Oval Office in Washington, D.C. The Pakistani girl, 16, was shot in the head and neck in 2012 in Pakistan's Swat Valley by the Taliban for her activism for women's rights and education. Yousafzai was nominated for a Noble Peace Prize.

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Mariah Carey seen leaving the Ritz-Carlton wearing a bedazzled sling after a dislocated shoulder injury in New York City.

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Janelle Monae performs live on Later with Jools Holland in Britain to promote her new album The Electric Lady. The ESSENCE cover girl and ESSENCE Fest 2013 headliner is known for over-the-top performances.

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President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama make their way to board Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C.

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First Lady Michelle Obama joins students for a Bollywood Dance Clinic in the State Dining Room of the White House.

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Jennifer Hudson poses on her star along the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Hollywood.

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Diana Ross is stunning as she performs her hits at Sound Board in the MotorCity Casino Hotel in Detroit. The 69-year-old icon wowed the crowd with her impeccable performance and four wardrobe changes, proving she's still the Queen of Motown.

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Tyra Banks kisses host Bow Wow on the set of BET's 106 & Park in New York City.

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Oprah Winfrey speaks during the Let Freedom Ring Commemoration and Call to Action to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

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President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and former Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter arrive for the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington.

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Rihanna enjoys the Carnival libations in her native Barbados.

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Amber Riley and Derek Hough were crowned Season 17 Champions and awarded the coveted Mirror Ball Trophy on the season finale of Dancing with the Stars.

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President Barack Obama speaks before the crowds of thousands attending the memorial service for former South African president Nelson Mandela at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg.